Benediction for the State Legislature
February 29, 2012
Politics is indeed a holy vocation, if and when we choose to make it so. You are the custodians of our great state, and serve a unique role: being the wards of Maine’s most vulnerable. The power to provide care is one of the most beautiful and outstanding abilities that a leader can assume. In order to exercise this power in the Godliest way, one must challenge herself to not only be just, but to also be righteous.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a Holocaust survivor and civil rights pioneer, draws important distinctions between justice and righteousness:
“Righteousness goes beyond justice. Justice is strict and exact, giving each person his due. Righteousness implies benevolence, kindness, generosity. Justice is a form, a state of equilibrium; righteousness has a substantive associated meaning. Justice may be legal; righteousness is associated with a burning compassion for the oppressed.
Justice dies when dehumanized, no matter how exactly it may be exercised. Justice dies when deified, for beyond all justice is God's compassion. The logic of justice may seem impersonal, yet the concern for justice is an act of love.”
(ABRAHAM JOSHUA HESCHEL, THE PROPHETS (NEW YORK: HARPER PERENNIAL MODERN CLASSICS, 2001) P. 200-201.)
All of the power, wealth, and control that we possess are gifts from the Almighty. These gifts are grace made manifest. In this legislative session, may you serve justly and righteously, wisely and compassionately, distributing our God-given gifts with a “burning compassion for the oppressed.” May you observe the Biblical commandments of caring for the most vulnerable; providing what is necessary for healing, learning, and prospering.
As you undertake this sacred work, may you be inspired and guided by two of the most important words in the Bible “Hazak v’amatz” Be strong and courageous. May you all be blessed abundantly with God’s love and might in governing this great state.
And let us say, Amen.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Benediction for the State Legislature
Monday, February 27, 2012
Our next Talmud class will be this
Thursday, February 23, 2012
LIVE JUSTLY, GIVE GENEROUSLY.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
Dr. Ruth Calderon, famed Israeli educator and social entrepreneur will be coming to Waterville!
She will be giving two public lectures, one at Colby and one at Beth Israel Congregation.
"Text and Context: Teaching Talmud in Tel Aviv"
Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 7:00 pm
Colby College, Keyes 105
"The Poetics of Rabbinic Short Stories."
Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 10:00 am
Beth Israel Congregation, Kelsey Street Entrance
It is such an honor to welcome her to our community. I hope to see you there!
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Monday, February 6, 2012
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Pleasant Street UMC, with IRF on memo line. (Stands for Interfaith Resource Fund)
Beth Israel Congregation will also have baskets available for donations at Tu Beshvat and Purim.
Friday, February 3, 2012
Hindy Poupko was my first close Orthodox friend. When I initially met her at my first Wexner retreat, I was both surprised and delighted that my roommate was this spunky, funny, outgoing, open, strong, and sharp woman. We spent eight nights a year for four years laughing at late night television, processing all that we had learned and discussed that day, talking earnestly about where we had come from, what it meant for us to be women of faith, and our relationships. An Orthodox, Beis Yaakov and Stern College educated woman and liberal, lesbian rabbinical student would talk about the people we grew to love. She would take my side when I broke up with a woman and rejoice when I had found someone who I really cared about. And she spoke giddily about this cute boy she had met, Seth, who she could not wait to marry, and would come to be her loving husband.